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Flaminia Catteruccia, Ph.D.

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Imperial College London, LondonPh.D.1999Molecular Entomology
Value in People Award
Career Development Award


Malaria, a leading cause of death in tropical and subtropical regions, is transmitted by the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes. In Africa, where 90% of deaths occur, the major malaria vector is the mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Females of this and related species have a high reproductive capacity that is ensured by a single mating event followed by multiple blood feeding cycles.

In our research group we study the molecular and behavioral parameters that are key to the ability of Anopheles mosquitoes to transmit malaria, with special emphasis on reproductive biology and vector-Plasmodium interactions. Our aim is to provide crucial knowledge to aid the development of new, effective tools for mosquito and malaria control. A key component of our research includes fieldwork studies in Africa on mating biology and natural malaria infections. These studies, in collaboration with IRSS in Burkina Faso, ICIPE in Kenya and other partners, are expanding our understanding of mosquito reproductive biology, mosquito-microbiota interactions, and natural malaria infections.

Currently our scientific program covers a number of research areas:

Reproductive biology; genetic and evolutionary approaches to study reproductive traits important for vectorial capacity. Over the past few years we have been exploring previously unknown hormonal signalling pathways that are relevant for the reproductive success of the mosquito vector. We have demonstrated that the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), produced by the male and transferred to the female during mating as part of a coagulated mating plug, has dramatic effects on female physiology and behaviour. Sexual transfer of this hormone, an acquired trait in anopheline mosquitoes based on our evolutionary analyses, increases egg development after blood feeding, induces egg laying, helps fertility and triggers a long-lasting refractoriness to further copulation. We are currently characterizing the hormonal signaling pathways triggered by mating and boosted by blood feeding to study how the interplay between these two key reproductive processes determines female reproductive success in a number of mosquito species.

Mosquito pathways that facilitate Plasmodium development. While a wealth of studies have focused on the immune responses of mosquitoes to Plasmodium infections, little is known about how these parasites exploit the physiological environment of the blood-fed mosquito to develop and become transmissible, or how these unknown vector-parasite interactions may differ depending on the specific Anopheles-Plasmodium combination. We are studying the physiological factors that are exploited by Plasmodium parasites (P. falciparum and P. vivax) for their own development using a variety of mosquito species in combination with both laboratory and field isolates of human malaria parasites. Moreover, we aim to analyze the effects of novel control tools on the vectorial competence of Anopheles mosquitoes, and to determine selective pressures that may be imposed by these tools on Plasmodium parasites.

From the bench to the field: generation of tools to reduce the malaria burden. Our lab is strongly committed to developing translational tools to suppress field mosquito populations and prevent malaria transmission. Widespread insecticide resistance among Anopheles mosquito populations represents one of the most significant threats to existing malaria control programs. We aim to translate our laboratory findings into novel products that can aid current insecticide-based programs or provide effective alternatives to insecticide use. Our projects include the generation of gene drive systems to spread anti-Plasmodium genes through mosquito populations, the identification and validation of natural mosquito endosymbionts that prevent Plasmodium development, such as Wolbachia, and the generation of sterilizing and life-shortening compounds that can be incorporated into insecticide-based control programs.

The research activities and funding listed below are automatically derived from NIH ExPORTER and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing items. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
  1. R01AI153404 (CATTERUCCIA, FLAMINIA) Jun 11, 2020 - May 31, 2025
    Determining the interactions between mosquito oogenesis and Plasmodium falciparum survival and transmission
    Role: Principal Investigator
  2. R01AI148646 (CATTERUCCIA, FLAMINIA) Feb 4, 2020 - Jan 31, 2025
    Malaria transmission blocking through mosquito contact with treated surfaces
    Role: Principal Investigator
  3. R01AI124165 (CATTERUCCIA, FLAMINIA) Apr 15, 2016 - Mar 31, 2021
    Targeting steroid hormone signaling in Anopheles mosquitoes for malaria control
    Role: Principal Investigator
  4. R21AI117313 (CATTERUCCIA, FLAMINIA) Jan 15, 2015 - Mar 31, 2017
    Natural Wolbachia infections for the control of Anopheles mosquitoes
    Role: Principal Investigator
  5. R01AI104956 (CATTERUCCIA, FLAMINIA) May 20, 2013 - Jan 31, 2019
    Targeting the reproductive interactome of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae
    Role: Principal Investigator

Featured Content

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
  1. Adams KL, Abernathy DG, Willett BC, Selland EK, Itoe MA, Catteruccia F. Author Correction: Wolbachia cifB induces cytoplasmic incompatibility in the malaria mosquito vector. Nat Microbiol. 2022 Apr; 7(4):600. PMID: 35256789.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  2. Clark LE, Clark SA, Lin C, Liu J, Coscia A, Nabel KG, Yang P, Neel DV, Lee H, Brusic V, Stryapunina I, Plante KS, Ahmed AA, Catteruccia F, Young-Pearse TL, Chiu IM, Llopis PM, Weaver SC, Abraham J. VLDLR and ApoER2 are receptors for multiple alphaviruses. Nature. 2022 Feb; 602(7897):475-480. PMID: 34929721.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  3. Adams KL, Abernathy DG, Willett BC, Selland EK, Itoe MA, Catteruccia F. Wolbachia cifB induces cytoplasmic incompatibility in the malaria mosquito vector. Nat Microbiol. 2021 12; 6(12):1575-1582. PMID: 34819638.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
  4. Shaw WR, Marcenac P, Catteruccia F. Plasmodium development in Anopheles: a tale of shared resources. Trends Parasitol. 2022 02; 38(2):124-135. PMID: 34548252.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  5. Adams KL, Sawadogo SP, Nignan C, Niang A, Paton DG, Robert Shaw W, South A, Wang J, Itoe MA, Werling K, Dabiré RK, Diabaté A, Catteruccia F. Cuticular hydrocarbons are associated with mating success and insecticide resistance in malaria vectors. Commun Biol. 2021 07 26; 4(1):911. PMID: 34312484.
    Citations: 2     Translation:AnimalsPHPublic Health
  6. Shaw WR, Holmdahl IE, Itoe MA, Werling K, Marquette M, Paton DG, Singh N, Buckee CO, Childs LM, Catteruccia F. Multiple blood feeding in mosquitoes shortens the Plasmodium falciparum incubation period and increases malaria transmission potential. PLoS Pathog. 2020 12; 16(12):e1009131. PMID: 33382824.
    Citations: 10     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsPHPublic Health
  7. Marcenac P, Shaw WR, Kakani EG, Mitchell SN, South A, Werling K, Marrogi E, Abernathy DG, Yerbanga RS, Dabiré RK, Diabaté A, Lefèvre T, Catteruccia F. A mating-induced reproductive gene promotes Anopheles tolerance to Plasmodium falciparum infection. PLoS Pathog. 2020 12; 16(12):e1008908. PMID: 33347501.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsPHPublic Health
  8. Bascuñán P, Gabrieli P, Mameli E, Catteruccia F. Mating-regulated atrial proteases control reinsemination rates in Anopheles gambiae females. Sci Rep. 2020 12 15; 10(1):21974. PMID: 33319823.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
  9. Straub TJ, Shaw WR, Marcenac P, Sawadogo SP, Dabiré RK, Diabaté A, Catteruccia F, Neafsey DE. The Anopheles coluzzii microbiome and its interaction with the intracellular parasite Wolbachia. Sci Rep. 2020 08 14; 10(1):13847. PMID: 32796890.
    Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
  10. Werling K, Shaw WR, Itoe MA, Westervelt KA, Marcenac P, Paton DG, Peng D, Singh N, Smidler AL, South A, Deik AA, Mancio-Silva L, Demas AR, March S, Calvo E, Bhatia SN, Clish CB, Catteruccia F. Steroid Hormone Function Controls Non-competitive Plasmodium Development in Anopheles. Cell. 2019 04 04; 177(2):315-325.e14. PMID: 30929905.
    Citations: 24     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
  11. Paton DG, Childs LM, Itoe MA, Holmdahl IE, Buckee CO, Catteruccia F. Exposing Anopheles mosquitoes to antimalarials blocks Plasmodium parasite transmission. Nature. 2019 03; 567(7747):239-243. PMID: 30814727.
    Citations: 25     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsPHPublic Health
  12. Smidler AL, Scott SN, Mameli E, Shaw WR, Catteruccia F. A transgenic tool to assess Anopheles mating competitiveness in the field. Parasit Vectors. 2018 Dec 24; 11(Suppl 2):651. PMID: 30583744.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsPHPublic Health
  13. Shaw WR, Catteruccia F. Vector biology meets disease control: using basic research to fight vector-borne diseases. Nat Microbiol. 2019 01; 4(1):20-34. PMID: 30150735.
    Citations: 59     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
  14. Mitchell SN, Catteruccia F. Anopheline Reproductive Biology: Impacts on Vectorial Capacity and Potential Avenues for Malaria Control. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2017 Dec 01; 7(12). PMID: 28389513.
    Citations: 13     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsPHPublic Health
  15. Childs LM, Cai FY, Kakani EG, Mitchell SN, Paton D, Gabrieli P, Buckee CO, Catteruccia F. Disrupting Mosquito Reproduction and Parasite Development for Malaria Control. PLoS Pathog. 2016 Dec; 12(12):e1006060. PMID: 27977810.
    Citations: 23     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsPHPublic Health
  16. Shaw-Saliba K, Clarke D, Santos JM, Menezes MJ, Lim C, Mascarenhas A, Chery L, Gomes E, March S, Bhatia SN, Rathod PK, Ferreira MU, Catteruccia F, Duraisingh MT. Infection of laboratory colonies of Anopheles mosquitoes with Plasmodium vivax from cryopreserved clinical isolates. Int J Parasitol. 2016 10; 46(11):679-83. PMID: 27456552.
    Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsPHPublic Health
  17. Catteruccia F. Flaminia Catteruccia - Digging into the Sex Life of Mosquitoes. Trends Parasitol. 2016 10; 32(10):751-752. PMID: 27291358.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Animals
  18. Shaw WR, Marcenac P, Childs LM, Buckee CO, Baldini F, Sawadogo SP, Dabiré RK, Diabaté A, Catteruccia F. Wolbachia infections in natural Anopheles populations affect egg laying and negatively correlate with Plasmodium development. Nat Commun. 2016 05 31; 7:11772. PMID: 27243367.
    Citations: 43     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
  19. Shaw WR, Attardo GM, Aksoy S, Catteruccia F. A comparative analysis of reproductive biology of insect vectors of human disease. Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2015 Aug 01; 10:142-148. PMID: 26140265.
    Citations: 8     Fields:    
  20. Mitchell SN, Kakani EG, South A, Howell PI, Waterhouse RM, Catteruccia F. Mosquito biology. Evolution of sexual traits influencing vectorial capacity in anopheline mosquitoes. Science. 2015 Feb 27; 347(6225):985-8. PMID: 25722409.
    Citations: 38     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsPHPublic Health
  21. Baldini F, Segata N, Pompon J, Marcenac P, Shaw WR, Dabiré RK, Diabaté A, Levashina EA, Catteruccia F. Evidence of natural Wolbachia infections in field populations of Anopheles gambiae. Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 06; 5:3985. PMID: 24905191.
    Citations: 67     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
  22. Baldini F, Gabrieli P, South A, Valim C, Mancini F, Catteruccia F. The interaction between a sexually transferred steroid hormone and a female protein regulates oogenesis in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. PLoS Biol. 2013 Oct; 11(10):e1001695. PMID: 24204210.
    Citations: 49     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.